The Fall of Gondolin

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The Fall of Gondolin
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“An essential historical reference for Middle-earth fans” (Entertainment Weekly), The Fall Of Gondolin is the final work of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth fiction, completing Christopher Tolkien’s life-long achievement as the editor and curator of his father’s manuscripts.

In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar.

Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.

At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.

Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.

The Children Of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Children Of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien
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One of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Children of Húrin takes place in Middle-earth thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

The Children of Húrin is the first complete book by Tolkien since the 1977 publication of The Silmarillion. Six thousand years before the One Ring is destroyed, Middle-earth lies under the shadow of the Dark Lord Morgoth.

The greatest warriors among elves and men have perished, and all is in darkness and despair. But a deadly new leader rises, Túrin, son of Húrin, and with his grim band of outlaws begins to turn the tide in the war for Middle-earth—awaiting the day he confronts his destiny and the deadly curse laid upon him.

The Silmarillion (tolkien)

The Silmarillion
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Published: 2001
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illustrated edition here

The #1 New York Times Bestseller

The Silmarillion is the core of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imaginative writing, a work whose origins stretch back to a time long before The Hobbit. This mythopoetic masterpiece is a must-read before you watch The Lord of the Rings on Amazon.

“Majestic! … Readers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will find in The Silmarillion a cosmology to call their own, medieval romances, fierce fairy tales, and fiercer wars that ring with heraldic fury… It overwhelms the reader.”—Time

The story of the creation of the world and of the First Age, this is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back and in whose events some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part. The three Silmarils were jewels created by Fëanor, most gifted of the Elves. Within them was imprisoned the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor before the Trees themselves were destroyed by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Thereafter, the unsullied Light of Valinor lived on only in the Silmarils, but they were seized by Morgoth and set in his crown, which was guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth.

The Silmarillion is the history of the rebellion of Fëanor and his kindred against the gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy.

“A creation of singular beauty … magnificent in its best moments.”—The Washington Post

“Heart-lifting … a work of power, eloquence and noble vision… Superb!”—The Wall Street Journal

The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again (Lord of the Rings)

The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again
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Published: 1966
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Version illustrated by the author here

The adventures of the well-to-do hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who lived happily in his comfortable home until a wandering wizard granted his wish.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon.

Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

The Fall of Númenor: And Other Tales from the Second Age of Middle-earth

The Fall of Númenor
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Published: 2022-11-15
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J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings on the Second Age of Middle-earth, collected for the first time in one volume. J.R.R. Tolkien famously described the Second Age of Middle-earth as a “dark age, and not very much of its history is (or need be) told.” And for many years readers would need to be content with the tantalizing glimpses of it found within the pages of The Lord of the Rings and its appendices, including the forging of the Rings of Power, the building of the Barad-dûr and the rise of Sauron. It was not until Christopher Tolkien published The Silmarillion after his father’s death that a fuller story could be told.

Although much of the book’s content concerned the First Age of Middle-earth, there were at its close two key works that revealed the tumultuous events concerning the rise and fall of the island of Númenor. Raised out of the Great Sea and gifted to the Men of Middle-earth as a reward for aiding the angelic Valar and the Elves in the defeat and capture of the Dark Lord Morgoth, the kingdom became a seat of influence and wealth; but as the Númenóreans’ power increased, the seed of their downfall would inevitably be sown, culminating

in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Even greater insight into the Second Age would be revealed in subsequent publications, first in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, then expanded upon in Christopher Tolkien’s magisterial twelve-volume The History of Middle-earth, in which he presented and discussed a wealth of further tales written by his father, many in draft form.

Now, adhering to the timeline of “The Tale of Years” in the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, editor Brian Sibley has assembled into one comprehensive volume a new chronicle of the Second Age of Middle-earth, told substantially in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien from the various published texts, with new illustrations in watercolor and pencil by the doyen of Tolkien art, Alan Lee.

The Fellowship Of The Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, 1)

The Fellowship of the Ring
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Published: 1993
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After discovering the true nature of the One Ring, Bilbo Baggins entrusts it to the care of his young cousin, Frodo, who is charged with bringing about its destruction and thus foiling the plans of the Dark Lord.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien’s three-volume epic, is set in the imaginary world of Middle-earth – home to many strange beings, and most notably hobbits, a peace-loving “little people,” cheerful and shy. Since its original British publication in 1954-55, the saga has entranced readers of all ages. It is at once a classic myth and a modern fairy tale. Critic Michael Straight has hailed it as one of the “very few works of genius in recent literature.” Middle-earth is a world receptive to poets, scholars, children, and all other people of good will.

Donald Barr has described it as “a scrubbed morning world, and a ringing nightmare world…especially sunlit, and shadowed by perils very fundamental, of a peculiarly uncompounded darkness.” The story of ths world is one of high and heroic adventure. Barr compared it to Beowulf, C.S. Lewis to Orlando Furioso, W.H. Auden to The Thirty-nine Steps. In fact the saga is sui generis – a triumph of imagination which springs to life within its own framework and on its own terms.

Illustrated version here